My boy, Luke, made (and self titled) the above concotion for our dessert last night. He told me, early in the day, that he had an idea and needed a few ingredients from the store. I obliged, and was treated to this yummy goo, made entirely from start to finish by my guy.
(Vanilla yoghurt, blueberries, grapes – oh so carefully sliced in half-, mandarin oranges, honey and Bear Naked Apple Cinnamon Granola)
He knew that I would indulge this idea, and make an extra trip to the store, because I’m always willing to do what I need to do to let him experiment in the kitchen.
See, I take my job as the mother of men-in-the-making very seriously. I am forever thinking about how what I do/say/fail at today will affect the men they become tomorrow, and the women bound to them by the laws of matrimony (God-willing… I do so want grandbabies). It is, afterall, always the mother that people end up blaming on the therapist’s couch.
One of the results of this kind of thinking is that I am always careful to avoid comments or ideas that would predispose them to fall into some of the stupid, ever-present, manly stereotypes. For instance, that men shouldn’t sew, cook, cry, clean, play with dolls, play the piano or like pink.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not opposed to man-ness. Actually, I quite enjoy it. 🙂 And trust me, there is no shortage of it in my house. They fish. They lust after BB guns. Their favorite show is Man Vs. Wild. They open doors for women pushing strollers at the gym. They pick, scratch and like to say, “poop”. They are men to the core. Men of honor. Men of valor. Men who are itching for a pocket knife like Daddy’s. Men who are man enough to know what they like, whether they are “supposed to” or not.
I know this because each and every one has demonstrated his willingness to cross the line into girl land.
James once told me, “Mama, some people say there is, but there’s really no such thing as boy colors and girl colors.” Yep. This is the one who wanted a Strawberry Shortcake party when he turned two!
My two year old’s favorite toy is a plastic fishing pole (“Mommy, I caught a WHOPPER!), but a close second is his baby doll, with her disappearing milk bottle. He feeds her, kisses her sweetly, tells her he loves her, wraps her in her dolly blanket and chunks her across the room onto the bed, bellowing, “SCOOOOOOOOOORE! Now you take a happy nappy baby!” What a good Daddy he will be!
And my oldest, he has his own sewing machine (thank you Grandfather for making the necessary repairs to our Goodwill find!), his own set of Rachel Ray cookbooks (one of which required me to buy an inordinant amount of Ritz crackers so that we could send in the UPC symbols), and is WAY into making jewlery. The best example of his secure manhood yet though, happened a couple of weeks ago in a grocery store. Ryder was tired and cranky and asked Luke to hold his baby (okay he threw it at his head). My big 6 year old, without missing a beat, put that baby over one shoulder and proceeded to pat/burp it all up and down Wal-Mart. It never even crossed his mind that anyone would look twice at a big ol’ boy patting his baby dolly.
Now, I’m fairly certain that the older they get, the more likely they will be to want to demonstrate their man-ness by shunning all things remotely girly, but I hope, no, I pray, that they will have absorbed enough, enjoyed enough to come back to the things they love once they are past the need to PROVE themselves as men.
And I’m also hoping that in learning to cook, clean, sew, etc, that they will choose a wife because they love her, appreciate her intellect and unique talents, not because they need someone to do all that stuff for them.
To that end, I have a sneaky plan. When the time comes that they decide they are too cool or too tough to shop, sew or cook with me, I completely intend to appeal to their baser instincts and tell them that women find men who can do these things so utterly attractive that they sometimes rip off all of their clothes out of sheer uncontrollable desire. Of course, then I will be condoning their objectification and manipulation of women.
I’m going to have to come up with a Plan B.